Ogilvy drops Singo name

By AdNews | 28 August 2009

The Singleton name has dropped off Australia’s advertising agency landscape after 24 years, with Ogilvy & Mather Sydney finally dumping the moniker as the agency seeks to establish its own identity.

Singleton Ogilvy & Mather will officially become Ogilvy & Mather Sydney next week
(1 September), signalling the end of an era.

The advertising legend himself, recuperating from hip surgery, told AdNews he was not concerned.

“It doesn’t worry me,” Singleton said. “It’s whatever management of [Ogilvy & Mather owners] STW want to do. If clients want to reach me they can get me through Banjo.”

Ogilvy & Mather Sydney chief executive Stuart O’Brien said: “John Singleton is an icon, still one of the strongest brand names
in the country. But it didn’t help us any more, we have to carve out our own brand.”

John Singleton launched John Singleton Advertising in 1985, listing on the stock exchange in 1994 before merging with the Australian arm of Ogilvy & Mather in 1997. He stepped down as director of STW in 2006, before selling his remaining shares back to the company for more than $50 million in 2007.

Last week Ogilvy & Mather launched its reincarnation of Qantas’s “I Still Call Australia Home” a campaign that was revived when Singleton was executive creative director at the agency.

O’Brien said it provided a symbolic
opportunity to make the long-anticipated name change. The move also comes 12 months after the agency moved to its Ogilvy House premises in St Leonards. “It really feels like the old brand, the old name doesn’t fit us any more,” commented O’Brien.

The other companies in the agency group will all drop the Singleton name to become Ogilvy One, Ogilvy Interactive, Ogilvy Action and Neo@Ogilvy as of 1 September. “There’s something nice about spring, a sense of optimism,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien installed a six-strong management board, including ex-Goodby Silverstein & Partners head planner Mike Daniels as managing partner and head of strategy, in November last year, following the exit of Singleton Ogilvy & Mather Group managing director Andrew Varasdi in April. Varasdi launched new agency Banjo, with the backing of none other than John Singleton.

Nikki MacLennan

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